Karl Emanuel Martin Weber (1889 – 1963)

Karl Emanuel Martin Weber, known as “Kem”,was a German furniture and industrial designer, architect, art director and teacher, who created the’Streamline’ style.


 

Kem Weber, 1928, old picture.
Kem Weber, 1928, old picture.

image source: https://www.collectorsweekly.com/articles/kem-weber-the-most-important-mid-century-modern-designer-you-never-heard-of/


About his life

Karl Emanuel Martin Weber was born in Berlin, Germany. He studied under Bruno Paul who guided him to design and supervise the construction of the German Pavilion at the 1910 International Exposition in Brussels, leading to his commission to do the German section at the Panama-Pacific Exposition. In the early 1920’s, he became Art Director for Barker Brothers in Santa Barbara (California) and designing several lines of modern furniture. In 1927 he left Barker Brothers (but remained as design consultant) and opened his design studio in Los Angeles. Weber designed furniture for Higgins Mfg.Co., Meyers Co., Berkley and Gay,  Karpen Furniture Co., Noha Furniture Co., Grand Rapids Furniture Co., and Lloyd Mfg. Co. He also designed a line of modern clocks for the Lawson Clock Co.


info source: http://www.modernismgallery.com/kem+weber/

Lawson Zephyr Clock, Weber, 1930.
Lawson Zephyr Clock, Weber, 1930.

image source: http://www.decopix.com/the_lawson_clock_story/

Weber was especially eager to explore the possibilities of new materials and production methods, from tubular metal to the new man-made materials then beginning to appear in the marketplace. He was also interested in investigating new approaches for constructing furniture, moving away from traditional forms of joinery and support. He worked on an idea:“Bentlock” furniture, which relied on bent hardwood. The technique produced a distinctive and novel cast for his pieces, but it proved impractical, and he eventually abandoned it.

info source: http://www.themagazineantiques.com/article/kem-weber-southern-california/

Chrome Lounge Chair, 1938, Kem Weber.
Chrome Lounge Chair, 1938, Kem Weber.

image source: https://www.chairish.com/product/185751/kem-weber-style-deco-chrome-chair-by-royal-metal

 

What were the main features of Weber’s Style?

Many of his designs can be classified as ‘Streamline Moderne’, which was a popular style in contemporary architecture, as well as in the industrial designs of his contemporaries such as Raymond Loewy.

Airline Chair (1934) probably was his most famous work ,an early form of furniture that was to be sold to the consumer in parts for final assembly at home (like IKEA). It exemplified the clean, streamlined style of the age. Unfortunately for living rooms everywhere, the design did not catch on and only about 200 were ever produced. California’s Walt Disney Studios office complex purchased many of the limited 1934 production.

info source: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kem_Weber

Airline Chair, 1930, Weber.
Airline Chair, 1930, Weber.

image source: https://one1more2time3.wordpress.com/2013/03/17/kem-weber/

 

Kem Weber’s Airline Chair was designed to be packed in a cardboard container and assembled by the customer.
Kem Weber’s Airline Chair was designed to be packed in a cardboard container and assembled by the customer.

image source: https://www.collectorsweekly.com/articles/kem-weber-the-most-important-mid-century-modern-designer-you-never-heard-of/

 

Leave a Reply